10 good reasons for skiing in Zillertal

02/09/2020 - SnowTrex

Winter sports enthusiasts who have booked or are planning a ski holiday in Zillertal have definitely done everything right. After all, the ‘most active valley in the world’ not only offers hundreds of kilometres of pistes, après-ski strongholds and top accommodation.  SnowTrex has now summarised what else is on offer to guests in winter and shows 10 good reasons for skiing in Zillertal.

Panoramic view of the mountains in Zillertal.

1. Skiing in 4 large ski areas

The Zillertal has a large quartet of ski areas for winter sports enthusiasts. The ‘Zillertal Superskipass’ gives skiers and snowboarders access to all four. However, it remains to be seen whether you will manage to ski every single kilometre of piste during your stay. In total, the length of all the slopes combined is 544 kilometres! And this huge selection of pistes not only guarantees that every winter sports enthusiast will definitely find one or more runs to their liking in the Zillertal, but also that they will return to carve down previously undiscovered pistes.

You can choose between the Hochzillertal-Hochfügen/Spieljoch ski area, the Zillertal Arena, Mayrhofen & Hippach and the Ski & Gletscherwelt Zillertal 3000. And if you want to take a relaxed ride up the mountain from the valley stations on some of the most modern lifts in the Alps, you can of course do so here and don’t even need a car to get there. After all, all ski areas are easily accessible by ski bus from towns such as Tux, Bruck am Ziller or Kaltenbach and are also connected to each other.

High up to the summits of Zillertal.

2. On the piste 365 days a year

Thanks to sophisticated snowmaking technology, all ski areas in Zillertal have a very high snow security. However, no other ski area in the ‘most active valley in the world’ can boast such good piste conditions in winter, whatever the weather, as the ski area on the Hintertux Glacier as part of the Ski & Glacier World Zillertal 3000. Here, at the icy end of Zillertal, winter sports fans can ski 365 days a year! Especially in winter, the peak “Gefrorene Wand” (German: “frozen wall”), with its height of 3,250 m up on the glacier really lives up to its name. Here, winter sports enthusiasts can let off steam on 202 kilometres of pistes, which are served by 65 lifts. And in summer too, up to 20 kilometres of slopes and more than 10 lifts are open in Austria’s only year-round ski area on the eternal ice.

In Austria’s only year-round ski area on the Hintertux Glacier, the pistes are always perfectly groomed – whether in winter or summer.

3. Piste paradise for families

When it comes to family-friendliness, the Zillertal in the Alps is second to none. It all starts on the piste in winter, of course. Almost 500 ski instructors are on hand in 25 ski schools to help the little ones on their first descents and teach them the best skiing techniques. And for kids aged between three months and seven years who are not yet ready for the piste, they can be looked after in the “Zwergerl Clubs”. In the ski areas, parents and their children can choose from many blue, beginner-friendly slopes as well as many ‘fun slopes’ with waves, steep turns and tunnels. These include the FunSlope Spieljoch and the FunLine Hochfügen, four fun runs in the Zillertal Arena, the Karl Kraxler or Albert Adler Tour in Mayrhofen as well as the Kidsslopes in Hintertux and on the Rastkogel.

Away from the pistes, families in the Zillertal will also find many accommodation options that can be booked with SnowTrex and are specially geared towards guests with children. Some of them offer their own childcare, entertainment teams and play areas. In addition to hotels, guesthouses and holiday flats, the winter leisure programme for families in the ‘most active valley in the world’ is also impressive. From swimming pools to open-air attractions and other events, there is almost everything for young and old.

In the Zillertal, families can explore over 500 kilometres of pistes together in a relaxed atmosphere.

4. Après-ski strongholds

And speaking of off-piste: when the lifts come to a standstill in the late afternoon, the party starts in the Zillertal. Because when it comes to après-ski, Mayrhofen and Hippach as well as the towns around the Zillertal Arena, such as Zell am Ziller and Gerlos, are real strongholds. At legendary umbrella bars, such as the Yeti Bar at the Horbergbahn valley station or the Elchbar at the Penkenbahn mountain station, as well as in other clubs, the Zillertal celebrates throughout the winter. Highlights include the end-of-season events, such as the “Kölsche Woche” on the Hintertux Glacier or the “Snowbombing” in Mayrhofen, which has earned the nickname “Ibiza in the snow” thanks to the performances by stars from the international club scene.

5. Deep-snow Eldorado

Untouched powder snow and endless white expanses: The Zillertal is also a paradise for freeriders in winter. Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy pure deep snow on over 65 designated freeride routes away from the groomed pistes. And to ensure that no winter sports enthusiast gets lost in the masses of snow, freeride tours with experienced guides from the region can also be booked in the Zillertal. They will show that they know one of the largest deep snow Eldorados in the Alps like the back of their hand and know where to find the best routes. The “Outta Banks” in Hochfügen with its wide, open slopes is ideal for deep-snow beginners, while experts can let off steam in the Kleegrube on the Hintertux Glacier in steeper, but scenically gigantic passages, while pros can tackle the Wanglspitz on the Horberg in Mayrhofen with its extreme lines.

Not only snowboarders will find pure powder on over 65 freeride routes in the Zillertal.

6. Challenges on deep black pistes

However, also on the piste things can get mega-difficult in Zillertal. Because in the Mayrhofen-Hippach ski area, a real challenge awaits even experienced winter sports enthusiasts: the Harakiri. And the name says it all, on one of the steepest pistes in the Alps. After all, the deep black descent on the Penken, which is number 34 on the piste map, has a gradient of up to 78 percent! Those who venture onto the Harakiri are greeted at the start with a sign that simply says “Hau di runter” (Austrian: “Hurtle down!”). Incidentally, daredevils can also venture onto the black piste no. 12 in Mayrhofen, which is a little less steep but bears the telling name “DevilsRun”.

Cross-country skiing in Hintertux.

7. Over 100 kilometres of cross-country skiing

Not every winter sports enthusiast wants to hit the piste. Those who want to literally go in search of “traces” on the cross-country ski trail can do so in the Zillertal. After all, there are over 100 km of groomed cross-country ski trails waiting for Nordic skiing fans – 113 km to be precise. The well-maintained network of trails leads through the most beautiful and partly unspoilt landscapes of the Zillertal. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or a pro. If you want to be active in both classic and skating style cross-country skiing, you will find the right terrain here. While the challenging, 7.1 km long Ginzling trail in Ginzling has a whopping 85 metres of altitude difference to overcome, the 2.1 km long Durst trail in Mayrhofen with 10 metres of altitude difference is also suitable for cross-country skiing beginners.

Over 100 kilometres of trails await cross-country skiing fans in the fantastic winter landscape of the Zillertal.

8. Top modern cable cars

Today, comfort on the way up the mountain is a top priority in all ski resorts in the Alps. The days of long platter lifts and draughty chairlifts are largely over. Instead, more and more modern cable cars have found their way into the Zillertal in recent years. This allows skiers and snowboarders to get to the top quickly and without long waiting times. One of the latest multi-million euro projects is the 10-seater ‘Wilde Krimmel’ gondola lift in the Zillertal Arena, which connects the pistes in Zell and Gerlos and covers the 1.8 km route in less than six minutes. In the Mayrhofen-Hippach ski area, the Finkenberger Almbahn even offers barrier-free 10-seater gondolas suitable for pushchairs with heated seats and WLAN!

The Penkenbahn in Mayrhofen is one of many ultra-modern cable cars in the Zillertal.

The exclusive Italian design company Pininfarina, which has been designing legendary cars for Ferrari, Jaguar and Maserati since 1930, also produced the 10-seater gondolas with leather seats for the Wimbachexpress in the Hochzillertal-Hochfügen-Spieljoch ski area. With the construction of the new Leitner gondola lift, not only have more pistes been opened up from Kaltenbach, but winter sports enthusiasts can also access the descent directly from the new mountain station at 2,340 metres above sea level, while also reaching the exclusive Albergo restaurant. There, not only are Italian specialities served at the table, but guests also have an unobstructed view of the fantastic mountain world of the Zillertal.

9. Enjoying leisure time away from the slopes

And for all winter sports enthusiasts who want to take it easy after a day on the piste or want to go out with the family, the Zillertal offers many other leisure activities. For example, museum and restaurant visits, curling and snowshoeing are popular. Those who prefer a bit more speed can go snow tubing in Hippach, try out ice skating in Kaltenbach or hire a toboggan and explore the longest toboggan run in the Zillertal at Gerlosstein, which is 7 kilometres long. The total length of all toboggan runs in the ‘most active valley in the world’ is 46 kilometres!

Snowtubing is one of the many outdoor activities in Zillertal away from the pistes.

10. Sustainable and relaxed journey

Do you want to do without your car and still travel to the ski area by train in a relaxed, comfortable and, above all, sustainable way? This is possible in the Zillertal. Deutsche Bahn connects Jenbach via Munich with many major German cities and even the Netherlands. Innsbruck railway station scores with direct connections from Hamburg, Berlin, Erfurt, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and daily Railjets also run from Zurich via the Arlberg from Switzerland. From the Tyrolean capital, it takes a maximum of 30 minutes by train to reach the Zillertal. From Jenbach station, the Zillertalbahn then runs every half hour through the magnificent Alpine landscape to Mayrhofen.

The Zillertalbahn railway runs between Jenbach and Mayrhofen stations.

From the railway stations, regular buses or ski buses will take you to the ski resorts, in some cases right to the front door of many top accommodations. These already offer their guests travelling by electric car in winter a convenient charging infrastructure. The same applies to some valley stations in the ski resorts, but it is advisable to enquire in advance whether the charging station will actually be available during your stay.

And if you fancy a skiing holiday in the Zillertal now, you should take a look at SnowTrex. There are over 100 accommodations to choose from – whether for families with children, couples, groups or solo travellers.

FAQ about skiing in the Zillertal

What does the Zillertal Superskipass offer and how many kilometres of pistes does it include?

The Zillertal Superskipass is the ticket for an unforgettable skiing experience in the four large ski areas of the Zillertal: Hochzillertal-Hochfügen-Spieljoch, Zillertal Arena, Mayrhofen & Hippach and Ski- & Gletscherwelt Zillertal 3000. With a total of 544 kilometres of pistes, the Zillertal offers an enormous variety of pistes for beginners and advanced skiers. The ski pass also makes it easy to travel by ski bus between towns such as Tux, Bruck am Ziller, Kaltenbach and the ski areas, allowing you to plan your ski day in a flexible and environmentally friendly way.

Is it possible to ski in the Zillertal outside the winter season?

The Hintertux Glacier, part of the Ski & Glacier World Zillertal 3000, offers a unique skiing experience all year round. At an altitude of up to 3,250 m, skiers and snowboarders have an impressive 202 kilometres of pistes at their disposal, which are served by 65 lifts. And even in summer, up to 20 kilometres of pistes and more than 10 lifts remain in operation here, making the Hintertux Glacier the only year-round ski area in Austria.

Are there special skiing and leisure activities for families in the Zillertal in winter?

Family friendliness is a top priority in the Zillertal. With 25 ski schools and around 500 professional ski instructors, children are taught to ski safely and playfully. The little ones can also be looked after in the Zwergerl clubs. Many beginner-friendly and exciting fun slopes await on the pistes, such as the FunSlope Spieljoch and the FunLine Hochfügen. Away from the slopes, numerous family-friendly accommodations offer special childcare, entertainment teams and playgrounds. In addition, the wide range of leisure activities, from swimming pools to outdoor attractions, ensures that boredom is never an issue.

What does the Zillertal have to offer when it comes to après-ski?

After a day on the piste, the après-ski fun begins in the Zillertal. Mayrhofen, Hippach and the areas around the Zillertal Arena are known for their lively après-ski scene. In legendary umbrella bars such as the Yeti Bar and the Elchbar as well as in various clubs, the party is exuberant. Highlights of the après-ski season are events such as the Kölsche Woche on the Hintertux Glacier and the Snowbombing in Mayrhofen, which is known for performances by top international DJs and is regarded as ‘Ibiza in the snow’.

What options does the Zillertal offer for a sustainable journey?

Das Zillertal fördert eine nachhaltige Anreise. Mit guten Bahnverbindungen etwa von München, Hamburg, Berlin und Zürich ist die beliebte Winterdestination gut erreichbar. Die Zillertalbahn fährt zudem regelmäßig von Jenbach durch die malerische Alpenlandschaft bis nach Mayrhofen. Vor Ort sind viele Unterkünfte und Talstationen mit Ladeinfrastruktur für Elektroautos ausgestattet, was eine umweltfreundliche Anreise und Mobilität vor Ort ermöglicht. Linien- und Skibusse bieten zudem eine bequeme Weiterfahrt direkt bis vor die Haustür vieler Top-Unterkünfte.

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